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The qualaties, properties, and tone of Alnico II (2) the musical magnet

by vaughn skow December 02, 2022 2 min read

Okay, so you are officially reading part THREE in my series on the different grades of Alnico, You might just want to start with part one, where alnico in general is broken down into historical context, and also part two, which discusses the properties of "alnico" III, the weakest of all produced alnico grades.  But this time around we are going to discuss alnico II, my personal favorite of the alnico family.  Why is it my favorite??  Let's discuss THAT!

For reference is the chart of the composition and properties of all alnico magnets:

Alnico grades chart

So ... remember from last week how I described Alnico III as bright, airy, delicate, and sweet?  Well, sharing the isotropic nature of Alnico III (A3), Alnico II (A2) has all of those same pretty tones, but ALSO produces an output energy force a little closer to it's big brother, Alnico V.  A2 fits right in between A3 and A5 tonally.  It  produces dome righteous full-bodied rock tones while retaining most of the sweetness of A3.  Soooo, if you want a PAF style humbucker that can ALSO sound a lot like a Tele when it needs to, A2 is the best choice.  If you want a PAF that can easily produce holy-grail Les Paul tone, but ALSO cleans up beautifully when the gain is dialed back, A2 is your best buddy!

Now, look at the chart, notice the inconsistency? (Go back and read blog one in this series if need be).  yep, generally as the grade numbers go up, so does the cohesive force, but NOT when we jump from A2 to A3 ... ALL the specs of A2 are more powerful than A3!  read last weeks blog for the reason WHY; hint: it's because A3 has no cobalt, so it's not REALLY an Alnico magnet, it would correctly be classified an AlNi magnet (no Co).  AIII was rushed into production to provide a very inexpensive magnet that still got the job done for most of the industrial and electronic uses of the early 1950's.

So there you have it! 

Alnico II is that magical magnet that provides the sweet, gentle complexity of Alnico III with an output closer to Alnico V.   It's my personal choice for my Vaughn's Velvet Tele and Vaughn's Velvet Strat pickup sets for just these reasons!

Next, we discuss Alnico V, the rock-n-roll magnet!  Whoo hoo.

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